24 October 2016

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DW: IOM highlights refugee drownings

Drownings in the Mediterranean killed two-thirds of the 3,694 refugees who perished while trying to reach Europe since January, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported, according to Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.


Fatalities among refugees heading for Europe across the Mediterranean from Africa rose 18 percent in the past six months - compared to the same period in 2015, the IOM said on Thursday, according to the report.

William Swing, the general-secretary of the intergovernmental organization on migration issues combining 165 nations, predicted that the casualty trend would worsen further into Europe's summer months, DW writes.

It is reported that the IOM registered a total of 3,693 cases of persons killed or missing from the start of 2016 until the end of June.

Arrivals in Europe over those six months amounted to 238,000.

The virtual closure of the so-called "Balkans route" initiated in February by nations such as Macedonia, Hungary and Austria and the EU's deal with Turkey to stem arrivals in Greece would hardly dissuade refugees, Swing said, according to DW.

"It's like water. One builds a dam and the water flows around it," Swing said.

"Refugees are innovative because they are desperate. When you erect a blockade at one spot, they search for another route," he added.

The Mediterranean route to Europe was one among nine or ten locations worldwide with refugee crises, he said, citing conflicts in Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan.

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